About the research

In order to estimate the attitudes and opinions of the citizens of Montenegro when it comes to their critical view on media content available on a daily basis, the Digital Forensic Center conducted quantitative field research of the public opinion.

The research was conducted on a representative sample of 1,054 adult citizens. The representative sample is defined as a random three-stage stratified sampling. The sampling evaluation is based on the available data from the 2011 census and evaluations on the population demographic characteristics from 2019. The sample is representative according to socio-demographic criteria – region, settlement type, sex, and age.

The research was conducted in the period between February 19 and March 20, 2020. “Face-to-face” survey lasted 15 minutes on average. For the purpose of this research, the questionnaire was made and it encompasses 4 units: media usage; trust in media and information quality; fake news and disinformation; responsibility, and information control.

The margin of error for the cases with incidence 50% equals +/- 3.0%

After the field research, a descriptive online indicative research was done, in order to estimate the media usage and the extent to which the citizens are informed on the COVID-19 epidemic.

Media usage

According to the results of the field research, televisions represent the media mostly used by the respondents. The majority of respondents (76.6%) state that they are watching television every day.

Among the younger respondents up to 24 years, only 50 percent claims that they are watching TV several times a week or on a daily basis while among the respondents older than 64 years old, 93% claim the same.

On the total sample, social media represent the second most present media which more than half of the respondents (64.7%) use on a daily basis or several times a week. Almost all respondents up to 24 years (92.8%) claim that they use social media on a daily basis or several times a week.

Older respondents and particularly those in the north of Montenegro usually state that they do not have access to online media such as news portals and social media.

The least used media according to the respondents’ opinion is the daily press. Just under half of the respondents (43.8%) state that they read daily press on a daily basis or several times a week while almost half of the young respondents up to 24 years never read the daily press.

Trust in media

Average trust rate in the Montenegrin media on a scale from 1 to 5 equals 3 approximately, therefore, there is no noticeable difference in the expressed level of trust in different media. In comparison with the other media, the respondents express the highest level of trust in television (32%). When it comes to other media, 28.2% trust radio, 28% trust YouTube, 24.4% daily press, 15.4% social media, and 14, 8% news portals.

Based on a total sample, only 28.1 percent of respondents estimate that the Montenegrin media report objectively and professionally, following the code of ethics.

Just over a third of respondents (36.9%) estimates that the media reporting influences the change of course of events. More than half of respondents (56.9%) states that the media does not influence their views on current affairs.

Half of the respondents estimate that the media frequently or almost always reports differently on the same event (50.6%) and that they frequently or almost always ignore or omit vital elements from news or important events (48.2%).

Fake news

Most of the respondents (85.3%) state that they are familiar with the notion of „Fake news“. As many as 79.2% of respondents estimate that they have noticed fake news in the Montenegrin media at least once.

If they notice „fake news“ on social media, a third of the respondents estimate that they would probably do nothing about it and ignore such a piece of information.

As few as 27.8% of respondents estimates that it is difficult to assess whether the information found in the media is true or false. One-third of respondents (34.4%) estimates that it is partially difficult to assess the truthfulness of the information. And 27.4% of respondents estimate that such a task is easy.

Almost 67.4 percent of respondents estimate that the state should monitor and control the media content on the internet in order to stop the spread of disinformation and fake news.

COVID-19 and the overall trust in the Montenegrin media

After the field research, a descriptive online indicative research was done, in order to estimate the media usage and the extent to which the citizens are informed on the COVID-19 epidemic.

As many as 80.5 percent of respondents follow the news on coronavirus in Montenegro almost every day, while 11.1 percent of them do it sometimes, and 7.6 percent do it rarely or almost never.

A total of 55.6 percent of respondents have trust mostly or totally in the Montenegrin media, whereas 21.7 percent trust them partially and 22.7 percent do not have trust at all or only partially.

The citizens mostly get informed about the pandemic via the internet portals or TV, while they do it most rarely via daily press and radio.

When it comes to trust in TVs, citizens almost equally and the most trust TV Vijesti (45.5%) and TVCG (42.2%), then Nova M and TV Prva.

The Vijesti news portal has the biggest trust of the citizens when it comes to getting informed about the coronavirus via news portals. Then follows RTCG, CDM, Antena M, Analitika, Pobjeda, FOS, and Dan.

Almost 78 percent of respondents have come across fake news and disinformation on coronavirus, and such news is mainly found on social media and news portals.